Jimi Hendrix Experience is an experience, all right
by Gary Bainbridge
What can only be described as the granddaddy of all “happenings” occurred last Tuesday night at Cleveland Music Hall, when Jimi Hendrix took Cleveland the way Grant took Richmond — and with just about as much noise.
WKYC teamed up with Belkin Productions to bring the best artist (sales-wise) the underground sound has to offer to 60,000 screaming, pushing, experience-hungry fans.
Considered by many experts to be the greatest guitarist in the pop field today, Hendrix sang, screamed, writhed and beat his guitar against the amplifiers through such songs as “Foxy Lady,” “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire,” “Hey Joe,” and his biggest hit to date, “Purple Haze.”
Accompanied by The Sense Laboratory (Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding), Jimi gave everybody something to remember. To KYC, a show that will be talked about for some time to come; to Belkin, an ulcer; to his fans, enough garbage to last most of them a lifetime; to the press, a near riot when about 100 teens rushed the stage in an attempt to touch their idol.
During a Teen Page interview, Jimi explained he’s a native of Seattle, Wash., and has been in the music field for the past seven years, most of that time as a back-up musician for well-known groups like Little Richard and The Drifters.
While in England 16 months ago, he “got tired of doing all the work while somebody else got all the glory,” so he formed his own group. The rest is pop history.
He’s worn out 15 guitars since his present tour started. Jimi doesn’t consider his music underground, but, “if that’s what we are, I hope it lasts forever.”
He’s refused many TV offers because his back-up men, both English, have visas which allow them to entertain indefinitely in this country, but do not permit TV appearances.
Jimi wouldn’t talk about the war except to say: “If I’m elected president, the war will be over tomorrow.”
He doesn’t like being compared to Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, and says “I don’t want to be either one of those guys — I just want to do my thing.”
The concert was not a complete loss, since it showcased “The Soft Machine,” one of the best bands to hit our area in quite awhile.
Whether you’re an underground fan or not, if you like good music, backed by fantastic showmanship, you’ll flip for this group.
They play a combination of jazz and rock, backed by a screen on which psychedelic figures are projected. The figures are created by dropping oil capsules in a variety of colors into heated water, causing them to explode. The projection of these color explosions on the screen creates some weird designs. Members of the Soft Machine are Robert Wyatt, drummer; Michael Ruttledge, organist, and Kevin Ayers, bass guitarist, who looks and acts enough like Tiny Tim to be his twin. They’re all from London and all college grads, says their manager.
Whether you like him or not, The Jimi Hendrix Experience is just that — an experience.
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Publication: Chronicle Telegram (Elyria, Ohio)
Publication date: April 2, 1968